Friday, September 27, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Late Fall, Garland Ranch

Late Fall, Garland Ranch, 6"x6", oil on gessobord, ©2013 Cindy Greene

We celebrated our 35th anniversary with a week in Carmel last fall, and had a wonderful time. We visited some favorite spots where we had been on previous anniversaries, and also discovered some wonderful new places. One of those is Garland Ranch in Carmel Valley, which was just down the road from where we were staying. I did a few plein air paintings there, and also took a lot of photographs.

I painted this from one of those reference photos, and also the memory of the long shadows and bright sunlight. There was probably a dog or two bounding around that corner just after the photo was taken. That day was my first experience being kissed by a dog while painting!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Blowing Kisses

Blowing Kisses, 5"x5", oil on gessoed panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
I photographed this sweet angel a few weeks ago at a dear friend's home. That same dear friend lost her mother yesterday, and today seemed a good day to paint the angel. It is so hard to lose a parent, even when you are relieved that she is at peace and out of pain.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Late Summer

Late Summer, 6"x8", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
available here
I am still here, and still painting — I've done a few small paintings that are not really blog material. While I will most likely make my goal of 30 paintings this month, they may not all be shared. Oh well.

We had surprise visits from two of our daughters over the weekend, which was really fun. I am SO thankful that our girls like to spend time with us!

Today's painting is from photo references I took at Bolsa Chica Wetlands on our last visit. I think it's about time to go back.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Limited Palette & Demonstration

Homemade Glass Palette with primaries and secondaries
For quite a long time, I've been using a color palette of between eight and twelve colors of paint, plus titanium white. I used the frequently-used warm and cool version of each primary color, a couple of earth colors, occasionally black, and viridian or pthalo blue when needed. I bought other colors of paint of course, including a couple of the quinacridone colors such as magenta or rose and played with them, and also tried a couple of the transparent oxides. These other colors usually went back into the spare paint container and only came out if I really wanted a specific color I couldn't get otherwise. I did find that Richeson Shiva Ice Blue mixes wonderful foggy or overcast skies, and that Viridian was useful in getting that deep turquoise blue I needed while painting in Laguna Beach.

I've been putting together a painting kit for traveling, where I need to fit everything into a smallish backpack. I bought a cigar box pochade on eBay, and took it for a spin (literally, on my back while riding my bike to the beach). It worked great, but the paint is just heavy and I started thinking what I could leave behind. 

I've been reading about a few artists who use a truly limited palette, consisting of three or four colors, and found it interesting but a bit intimidating. I found Lori Putnam's blog post about her three-color palette, and decided to try it. I still have all my other paints, and can easily add in as necessary.

Go ahead and read Lori's post — it's really worthwhile — but basically, she decided to try using this very limited palette for a year. Lori uses Cadmium Yellow, Pyrrol Red and Ultramarine Blue, along with Titanium White. She said it worked so well for her, that she hasn't gone back, and still uses it. She can mix 99% of the colors she needs from these colors.

I've used Lori's palette now for a week or so, and am really enjoying it. I was mostly concerned with giving up Alizarin Crimson, since it made a lot of the mixes I liked. But the Pyrrol Red makes a beautiful purple, and I haven't missed the alizarin at all. I'm using Winsor & Newton's Winsor Red, which is the same as pyrrol (also spelled pyrrole or pyrol). As Lori suggested, I mix up the secondaries on my palette (orange, green, purple). I also save the palette scrapings, mixed together to make a neutral "mud" color, which is always slightly different, but is usually a warm grey. This is a great aid to getting beautiful neutrals and greys. Honestly, I am loving the results and highly recommend it!

Read Lori's blog article, as she explains her reasons for choosing the limited palette much better than I can, and she has a great color chart showing some of the colors she mixes.

"Up A Creek" Demo....

I posted these photos on my FaceBook Cindy Greene Studio page, but it's a little harder to find there and thought I'd cross-post them here. I snapped some photos of my painting "Up A Creek" while in process. This was painted using only Cadmium Yellow, Pyrrol Red and Ultramarine Blue, along with Titanium White.

On Ampersand Gessobord, a very smooth panel, I sketched in the composition
with a diluted mixture of grey "mud."

I laid in the dark shapes, to get the darks where they need to be. I had mixed
a nice large pile of blue and red, and modified that purple as needed.

I added some of the middle values, going cooler in the background, as well as laying in
the light sand color on the right. Also put in the light gold bluff area and its reflection.

Started putting in greens, especially the trees up on the bluff.
I also put in the sky to get the lightest light in place.

I put in the greens of the marsh grass, trying to get the pattern in of lights and darks.

Water! There are some cloud reflections, but not enough to make distinct shapes.
The gessobord is a bit slick for big strokes.

I painted the right side bank, with its grasses and shrubs. I also worked on the left bank a bit.

Finally, the reflections of the bluffs and trees go in the water.

More details now, darkening a few areas and developing some of the marsh.
I also corrected a bit of the reflections.

I thought it was finished here, but as usual it needed to "steep" overnight.

I made a couple of miniscule corrections on the bluff areas.
This is the final, and the colors are more true to the original.

"Up A Creek", 6"x6"
©2013 Cindy Greene

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Early Morning Walk

Early Morning Walk, 5"x5", oil on gessobord, ©2013 Cindy Greene
Daily Paintworks Auction here
As I said, I love paths. Especially in the early morning, when the light is catching the tips of the shrubs and marsh plants. This is another view I took on a painting trip to the Newport Back Bay. What an oasis in the middle of busy Orange County — not just for us, but also for the animals who live there or visit on their long flights north or south.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Path to the Marsh

Path to the Marsh, 5"x5", oil on gessoed panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene

I'm having a lot of fun going through the photos I took this summer, and painting some of the scenes that I didn't have time to paint while I was on location. This is one of the photos I took at the Newport Back Bay. I love paths. 

I'm still using the very limited palette — and I love it!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 30 in 30 — We Open At Eleven

We Open At Eleven, 8"x8", oil on gessobord, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$150, available here
When you visit Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach, there is really only one place to eat. (We aren't counting the Ruby's hamburger stand.) Here's the Beachcomber Cafe before the crowds start lining up at the orange umbrella for a table. A wait of an hour or more isn't unusual in the summer, and everyone is guilty of elbowing to the front of the line.

What a view, though!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Harmony

Harmony, 6"x6", oil on gessoed panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
Have you ever wanted to live in Harmony?

Harmony, California is a very tiny historic town in Central California, one main street off Highway 1. It was founded in 1869 and has a rather colorful past, but now consists of a few artisans, the post office and the very nice Harmony Cellars winery. We often stop when we're passing by. The winery is worth a stop, and has a lovely view from their patio.

I loved the late afternoon tree shadows on the post office building. It was a lot of fun to paint.

And did anyone notice the two "sevens" are not alike? Right. I wonder if anyone else notices that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Up A Creek

Up A Creek, 6"x6", oil on gessoed panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
On one of our painting group excursions this last summer, my friend Diane disappeared down a path and soon called the rest of us down to see her view. It was gorgeous, and I snapped some photos. The path was a bit too rocky to get my painting gear down, so I planned to paint the creek another day.

And today was that lucky day. This is one of those paintings that I knew what I wanted, and it pretty much worked out that way. (Those days are pretty nice when they happen!)

I'm going to post a demo series of this painting on my FaceBook fan page tomorrow. Be sure to "like" the Cindy Greene Studio page, and check in tomorrow to see how I painted this view.

FaceBook page:

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Around the Corner

Around the Corner, 8"x10", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene,
$175 available here
This painting was a challenge in itself! I started in en plein air on Balboa Island, on a beautiful summer morning. I was very happy with parts of the painting, but there were a few problems. I've been mentally working on those areas now for some time, and decided it was time to actually finish the painting. I used Julie Ford Oliver's "paint on the glass" technique again and tried out some different options, and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Balboa Island is really sensory overload — so much to paint and it's better to bite off very small chunks. The gardens of the homes are charming, and I especially liked the Iceberg roses and grey-green bedding plants of this home.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Clouds Over Big Morongo

Clouds Over Big Morongo, 6"x6", oil on gessoed panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$100 available here
A couple of years ago, we went on a bird-watching expedition to Big Morongo Canyon. It was amazing of course, an oasis in the desert and so beautiful. Full of birds; we saw birds we never heard of. Thankfully we were with an Audubon Society group who knew what they were talking about. I brought home a lot of photos, and found this one. I think I'd like to go back to paint.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning, 5x7", oil on linen canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$100 available here
We decided to ride our bikes down to the marina this morning, and I thought it was a good time to play with my new cigar box pochade. I had loaded it with appropriate supplies, and my husband offered to "sherpa" the backpack for me. As we neared the beach, the fog got thicker and thicker, and I had a feeling that my idea of the Naples Island shore with the Long Beach downtown skyline in the background wasn't going to pan out the way I hoped.

When we arrived and claimed our bench, this is what the view looked like.

Truly. See the buoy bobbing there? Well, look closely. By the time I unpacked and set up my supplies, the view had improved to this.

And that was intermittent. So I did a quick little study of an old boat that was tied up to the dock, which will be wiped off by this evening. Some things just aren't for sharing.

Eventually, bits of the shoreline started to peek out, and I decided to start and see where it led. We were entertained as usual by the outriggers, fishing boats, and other craft, as well as a few seagulls and other bicyclists. 

This was a "process" day, and I learned a bit about using a small pochade to paint from. I think it will be a fun addition to the equipment, especially since that plus my small PanelPaks fit easily in a lightweight backpack. I think I'll take it out again soon — and maybe get a sunnier view.

Oh, and as proof that I really did ride a bike into the fog to paint, my husband offers up evidence.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Road Trip

Road Trip, 6x6", oil on gessoed panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
Road trip! Throw a few things in a bag (well okay more than a few), and Get In!

I live in one of the most amazing states in the USA, California. Within 90 minutes of my home, I can be in the mountains, desert, or beach — or in one of the largest cities in the country. We take it for granted most of the time, but we do love to pack a bag and take off for a few days. (And yes, the local traffic can be one of the reasons to get in!)

This is painted from a photo I took from the passenger front seat of our car on our way to the Central Coast last spring. The wild mustard was spectacular, and the marine layer was still hanging on the hills. It was a beautiful morning.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Half-Mast

Half-Mast, 5"x7", oil on linen panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
available here
I wanted to paint an American flag yesterday, as a way to remember and mark September 11. It had a profound impact on me, as I thought of little else all afternoon and far into the night. My husband and I also watched a memorial television show, which brought the impact back so completely. Of course, September 11, 2001 is one of those iconic dates that everyone (of an age of course) has burned into their minds. Being on the West Coast, two of our daughters were getting ready for school when the eldest heard the news on her radio. Our youngest daughter had badly broken her leg the previous Saturday and was bed-ridden until the swelling lessened to allow a surgical setting of the bones. So we were mostly house-bound that week caring for her (it took two of us to lift her to try to minimize the pain), and of course glued to the television. One of those nether-world sorts of times. 

As to the painting itself, the wide-angle of the camera over-emphasized the angled perspective. I tried to compensate, but I think it is not quite right. But I am happy with the flag, which was the purpose of my painting, so decided it's time to move on. 

Again, I am reminded of how grateful I am for a "normal day."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 30 in 30 — A Walk With Bepa

A Walk With Bepa, 7"x5", oil on gessobord panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene

This is a painting I've been wanting to do for a very long time. A faded photo of my father and my eldest daughter is on my bulletin board, and has always been one of my favorites. The toddler is now a wife and budding knitwear designer, and my dad passed away 14 years ago. I didn't notice until I scanned and enlarged the photo that Emily is wearing her favorite stretchy heart bracelet on her upper arm. She has always had her own original sense of style!

It's funny how the painting developed. I sketched the figures lightly in thinned paint, and had to do very little correction. It took quite a long time for such a small painting, but the figures went pretty quickly. It's the background that gave me trouble. The reference photo was taken in a park with some rather straggly small trees, and people in the background. The trees and people just didn't work with the composition, and the dry brownish grass in the photo wasn't very attractive. 

So I borrowed Julie Ford Oliver's idea of using a piece of glass held over the painting to try out different ideas — I painted the changes on the glass first and snapped a photo. Then looking at the viewfinder, I could see if the design was improved or not. It took a few tries, but it is a brilliant tool. Thanks, Julie! 

Here are some photos I snapped of the process — it might be interesting to you how it went.

I toned the panel with diluted burnt sienna, and wiped it off.
It will help counter all that green. I hope.

Got the figures sketched in, the darks in the jeans and shirt,
and my original idea for the background

My dad is looking pretty good, and I'm working on Emily

Emily is coming along, and I've greened up the grass.
Not happy with the background.

Glass! Painted a brighter sky to see how that looks. Nah.

More glass — painted in a darker background of distant trees. Better.

Added some distant trees on the painting. Better,
but I don't like the little tree. Too distracting.

Glass again. Made the tree(s) less distinct. Much better.

Corrected the trees on the painting. I like this background much better;
it gives context without distracting from the figures.

Finished for the night, but there are a few places I want to adjust.
Too much yellow halo around my dad's sleeves and Em's right leg isn't right.

I'm happy with the final result. Also corrected Emily's hair, and
added some shadow under the tree on the left.
Thanks for sticking with me this far!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Chevy Apache

Chevy Apache, 8"x10", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$175, available here

No, this wasn't painted at a marsh or wetlands, or even at a beach! This was a class assignment, and I complained about it. (Hate to admit it, but it's true.)

We are a classic car family, so I suppose I should start painting some of the old cars and trucks that I see frequently at the local car shows or even on the street. This old Chevy Apache had a lot of fun elements. Thanks to my husband, who helped me edit a few parts.

Anyone out there have one of these?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Incoming Tide

Incoming Tide, 5"x7", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene,
$100, available here
When we were at Bolsa Chica Wetlands the other day, the clouds gradually cleared and the heat started to sink in. This view of the inlet is full of birds, resident and visitor, as well as sealife. I love sitting there and watching. 

I'm thankful I painted a couple of paintings ahead last week. A dear elderly family member is not feeling well, and I've spent quite a bit of time with her. Then yesterday, two of our daughters came for a weekend visit, and it was totally worth putting the paints aside while we enjoyed them. We visited, talked, swam, cooked, watched soccer, knit, shopped, ate and talked a lot more. So much fun, and I am so thankful.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Summer Clearing, Back Bay

Summer Clearing, Back Bay, 6"x8", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$125, available here
Cheater alert: I started this painting at the Back Bay last month, but stopped way before it was completed. Since Real Life is happening around here, I spent a couple of hours reworking and finishing it as one of my September paintings. Yep, I did. 

The Newport Back Bay is a fun place to paint. And challenging!! The summer greens are so very bright, and next winter that marsh will be golden-red. Like this:

High Noon at the Back Bay, 8"x8", oil on board, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$125, available here

And early spring, it will start to green up just a bit, like this:

Rain's Coming, 10"x8", oil on board, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$125 available here

Always changing; always different. And now, what to paint today?

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Plein Air at the Back Bay

Plein Air at the Back Bay, 5x7", oil on linen canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
I had so much fun this summer painting with my two plein air buddies. Jeanne always wears her red shorts for painting trips (you know, you get a bit of paint on something and presto! it's your uniform) so of course I've been wanting to paint her in them. It was challenging to get the rocks and grasses in without letting them dwarf her. This area is a beautiful deck that overlooks the upper Newport Back Bay, and it's a favorite spot for painters.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Wetlands Sky

Wetlands Sky, 7"x5", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$100, available here

When we arrived at the marsh the other morning, the sky was just amazing. I'm guessing the late summer unstable hot air meeting the marine moisture did some magic. I painted very quickly to try to capture the essence of the sky. This is the main inlet for the wetlands, so the moving water allowed very few reflections.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 30 in 30 — Wetlands Reflections

Wetlands Reflections, 6"x8", oil on canvas panel, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$125, available here

We went to Bolsa Chica Wetlands again yesterday, to enjoy being outdoors before it got too hot. (Yes, heat wave here.) This is a slightly different view of the same area of marsh I painted last week. The clouds were just magnificent.

My husband got some great photos, including a red egret and a pair of white pelicans, neither of which we had seen there before. Fun morning, but by 10:00 it was too hot to stay in the sun, even at the coast.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 30 in 30 — The Perfect Rose

The Perfect Rose, 6"x6", oil on archival board, ©2013 Cindy Greene
$100 available here

My friend Leslie picked this rose from my front yard on her way into the house one day, and announced that it was "the perfect rose." We took some photos, and I'm glad I did. The rose is Princess Marianna, and it's a very small shrub rose with pale pink, perfectly shaped blooms. Sadly, no scent, but I enjoy it anyway.

Tomorrow's painting — another trip to Bolsa Chica Wetlands!
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